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St. Ignatius College Preparatory, San Francisco
  • Rethinking Africa: The staff of the African Advocacy Network includes Joe Sciarrillo, pictured here with Jean Elias Xavier, Director Aboudou Traore, Charles Jackson and Clementine Ntshaykolo outside their office in the Dolores Street Community Services building. They help a growing number of African immigrants to the Bay Area who may number as many as 50,000.
  • Retiring Pillars: SI’s faculty surprised Fr. Sauer in May with applause and flowers after the announcement of his reassignment.
  • The SI boys’ lacrosse team enjoyed what may have been best year since its founding nearly a quarter century ago. The lacrosse press ranked the team among the top 15 in the nation as SI turned in another undefeated season in league play – its fourth undefeated season since it joined the WCAL in 2010.
  • Richard Driscoll ’06, a performance engineer for Oracle Team USA that will defend the America’s Cup in September, is among the few locals hunkering down in Pier 80 off Marin Street, where they work 65-hour weeks to make sure that Ellison’s boat sails twice as fast as the wind and maneuvers with precision and power as it takes on challengers from around the world.
  • Retiring Pillars: Since the 1970s, Mary McCarty made sure Latin was a living language for students in her classes.
  • Rethinking Africa: Ira Shaughnessy ’00 spent two years in Ghana from 2007 to 2009 working with the Bormase helping with the cultivation of the Moringa tree, whose leaves are rich in vitamins.

Op Ed

 

The Challenge of Challenge Day

Gina Cusing '16
Contributing Editor

Many of SI’s current sophomores remember Challenge Day from their freshmen year as a day filled with emotional stories, abundant tears, and eye-opening activities. Ultimately, Challenge Day intended to bring the freshman class closer together and allow them to connect with people they would not normally talk to as well as their own personal identities. Energetic Challenge Day staff led students in fun games alongside more serious activities in an effort to "recognize stereotypes and labels," "tear down the walls of separation," and "help shift dangerous peer pressure to positive peer support," ac- cording to the organization's website, www. challengeday.org.

However, not everyone felt like they achieved these goals as a result of their experience at Challenge Day. Lizzie Ford '16 explained, "I felt pressured to share personal stuff with a group of people I barely knew." Lizzie's opinion rings true with many other students, especially those who were not in a group with their friends. Group leaders (mainly SI faculty members) encouraged students to share personal stories within a small group. Many of these topics were things that students were not comfortable enough to share with even their closest friends, so opening up to people they were unfamiliar with was, for some, uncomfortable and embarrassing.

Even if some students felt that Challenge Day achieved its goals, the lasting effects of its achievements is also question-able. Megan Gamino ’16 recalls enjoying her Challenge Day experience but says that “it seems like the next day none of it had ever had ever happened and the community was just back where it started." Does Challenge Day really accomplish its goal if students "tear down the walls of separation," only to build them back up the following day? The lack of lasting changes in our community makes all the activities, sharing, and awakening experiences seem worthless unless participants succeed in breaking stereotypes and promoting long- lasting unity, as the program encourages.

Perhaps the program would have been more effective and influential if students in- volved were more familiar with their peers, had more opportunities to witness the is- sues Challenge Day targeted, and possessed more experience with the school community in general (i.e., not freshmen). A better familiarity with fellow students and a better understanding of the school's community would help Challenge Day participants feel more inclined to share stories within a small group, take the activities seriously, get in touch with their identities, and actually make lasting connections with the people they share this experience with.

The Challenge Day organization encourages its participants to "be the change they wish to see in the world." However, unless participants carry out this pledge at SI and in their day to day lives, they may struggle to build a community that practices acceptance, respect, and zero tolerance for bullying.

Posted by on Sunday April, 13, 2014

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